Archive for the ‘DAILY LIFE’ Categoryby Northernmost on January 21, 2013 in Daily Life, Gemma, Titan with No Comments
This is what it looks like when Fredrik comes home from work; he’s immediately hogged by our indoor dogs Gem and Titan.
I rarely get this kind of greeting, maybe it’s because I work from home and I’m always around?
Gem (5) and Titan (3) have been living indoors since the New Year and they love it. They will probably move outdoors again later this spring but right now it’s their turn to be spoiled rotten. Every dog deserves that at least once in a while, don’t you think?
Thank you Fredrik for looking after the dogs so well while I’m unable to and thank you for being such a good and loving Malamute Dad. Not every Malamute owner/breeder has a partner that shares their interest so I count myself really lucky because Fredrik is just as passionate about Malamutes as I am. We can talk Malamutes for hours on end. Even when we spend time with our dogs, go skijoring or hiking, we talk Malamutes. Maybe it’s not a big surprise then that we met through mutual Malamute friends. In fact, Fredrik’s interest in Malamutes had developed long before he met me and my (then) 5-dog pack.
The girls love their Daddy…
…but Tuisku, in particular, has decided that Fredrik is HIS human.
I took this photo on the day they first met. Love at first sight?
I think so :)
Not easy to be banished from the house when all sorts of delicious smells are coming from the kitchen…Titan gazes through the window with hungry eyes when we are baking gingerbread and cooking ribs in the oven…poor boy
Things don’t always go according to plan. Just as the sledding season was kicking off I had to visit hospital to undergo back surgery due to a slipped disc that has caused me pain for a really long time. The surgery went well and I’ve now been allowed to return home. However, while my back is healing, I have to stay away from both skijoring and sledding. I bet you can imagine I’m more than a bit frustrated right now. Hopefully, if I follow doctor’s orders, my back will heal sooner rather than later but it will still take a long time before things are back to normal. In this kind of situation it’s good to have back up and luckily my mum lives just next door to us and can help out with the dogs when needed. Fredrik does most of the work but when he’s occupied my mum helps out with feeding and watering the dogs for example, and she also takes them out for walks. I’ve been watching their activities through the window today, feeling a little sorry for myself as I can’t go out and enjoy the snow. But as long as the dogs are happy I shouldn’t complain, we have a long winter and hopefully I won’t miss out on the entire season.
Thunder’s looking handsome in any weather.
Tuisku and Hilary hanging out with Fredrik in the playarea.
Look at Tuisku’s face…
Leia comes out from her dog house and gets a big kiss!
Grandma Kaisa and Gemmy go for a walk. This is fun says Gemma!
Since I have to take to easy at the moment I’m taking the opportunity to do some good reading. Right now I have three books lined up: “City Wolves” by Canadian author and Malamute owner Dorris Heffron, “On Time Delivery – the dog team mail carriers” by William S. Schneider, and “Malamute Man – Memoirs of an Arctic Traveler” by Joe G. Henderson. Three really interesting books which in different ways tell stories about sled dogs and Malamutes. I will post full reviews when I’ve finished reading them. Have a good weekend everyone!
Just like last year, winter arrived with a bang during the first week of December. We received one meter snow on December 2nd and it has been snowing every day since. When we moved south from Lapland in 2010, I worried there wouldn’t be enough snow here on the coast. I saw before me a nightmare of green and damp winters and muddy feet on the kitchen floor all year round. As we are now experiencing our third winter in Nedre Bäck it is clear that my worries were unfounded. In fact, we almost have more snow now than we did in Lapland. Here on the coast the autumn lasts well into November and then suddenly winter arrives almost overnight with a big dump of snow. Whereas in Lapland, winter starts in early October and snow builds up gradually during a longer period of time. Can’t say what I like better, but I’m glad that we found the right place for our new home, as winter and snow really get those Malamute tails wagging!
A couple of hours after we have removed all the snow from the porch it looks like this again!
One downside of living in an old house is that the windows can get rather draughty in winter. On the positive side – the windows are often covered with beautiful frostwork ;)
Our lovely Sledog kids, Titan & Lyra, enjoying a snow dance together. Winter weather definitely gets our Mals in play mode!
A couple of days ago our rowanberry trees were still laden with red berries but after a visit from a flock of Bohemian Waxwings they are now all gone. Wish I had caught these pretty birds with my camera. I love this shot by Finnish photographer Juha Soininen.
Gem takes a break in her favourite corner of the couch. She is a strong candidate for the position as our *next permanent house dog*. After our girl Lily passed away in 2009 we decided not to have a house dog, but Gem enjoys indoor life so much, and has such nice house manners, that maybe we’ll make an exception. After all, it’s quite nice to snuggle up with a warm dog on a cold winter night.
Time flies during this beautiful part of winter – only two weeks till Christmas!!
Ice is starting to form along the shores of our lake and we are hoping for a long period of cold weather and litte wind during November, so that the ice can grow thick and strong before the snow begins to fall. If we have a good winter with strong ice, we will be able to sled from home, across small lakes and rivers, to the extensive trails of the Bothnian Bay. Can’t wait for the season to begin!
During this dark time of the year, nothing beats cuddling up with a good book in front of the open fire on a Friday night. Both Fredrik and I love to read and have a growing collection of books related to Malamutes, dog sledding and outdoor adventure in general. We often buy books online, both new and used books from Amazon and eBay. I’m currently working on a “Good Reads-page” here on our website, which will include our reviews of some of the titles. Not every book that we have is worth buying, but some are real gems for “Malanuts”.
Have a happy weekend everyone!
Last weekend we took part in an interesting and inspiring BAT workshop organized by our local dog walking & training group. BAT stands for Behavior Adjustment Training and is a method developed by American dog trainer Grisha Stewart who is the owner and founder of Ahimsa Dog Training in Seattle.
In her book Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs (2011) Grisha Stewart provides dog owners with useful tools for training fearful/and or reactive dogs. The BAT method encourages you to learn about the canine language in order to be able to identify your dog’s calming signals and utilize these in training. When training your dog using the BAT method, you work with your dog and give your dog a chance to learn to control his environment through peaceful means.
If you are already used to clicker training and/or positive reinforcement, the BAT method provides the next set of tools that will take your training and relationship with your dog one step further. The BAT method is very easy to learn and we especially recommend it to Malamute owners who are dealing with fear issues, frustrated greeters or aggression. And it does not have to be a dog-to-dog aggression problem that you are dealing with, as this method works equally well for training a dog that has a fear of an object, or is uncomfortable around strange people or kids, or as a gentle technique for socializing puppies. You can learn more about BAT by visiting the BAT website or BAT for Dog Reactivity on Facebook.
Two good books: Köttbullelydnad by Maria Ahola (2008) and Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Fear, Frustration, and Aggression in Dogs by Grisha Stewart (2011).
The workshop we participated in last weekend was led by Maria Ahola from Furface Hundskola in Enköping in Sweden. Maria is the author of the popular book Köttbullelydnad (2008) (In English: Meatball Obedience Training) and was introduced to BAT when she attended Grisha Stewart’s seminar in Sweden earlier this year. We really enjoyed listening to, and learning from Maria, and recommend her training classes to anyone who is interested in using dog-friendly training methods that help dogs gain confidence and social skills.
A happy dog meeting at the training class. Our dog training group began as a socialization group mainly for Bernese Mountain Dogs but has grown to include not only our Alaskan Malamutes, but also a Cocker Spaniel and some terriers of different breeds. What all dog owners have in common is a desire to train our dogs using positive methods only.
Maria Ahola is one of the initiators of the Swedish campaign Yellow Dog which has gone viral and quickly spread around the world. Maybe you have seen this symbol already on the internet or have come across a dog in the street with a yellow ribbon on the leash? If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on the leash, please do not approach this dog, as the ribbon indicates that this dog needs space.
A dog can wear a Yellow Ribbon because:
- The dog has health issues or is in training.
- The dog is a rescue dog being rehabilitated.
- The dog has had a previous bad experience with another dog or simply does not like close contact with other dogs, even if they are friendly.
- This is a bitch in season and thanks to the yellow ribbon owners of male dogs can find out without having to get too close.
The choice of yellow as the signalling colour can be compared to how yellow is used in traffic lights. Unlike the colour red, which would indicate “stop, don’t come near my dog!”, yellow means; “please stop and ask me if it is OK before walking up to my dog with your dog/kids/treats.” We think the campaign Yellow Dog is a great idea and are hoping the concept will soon be widely known and respected.
After doing his best to ignore Lyra during her first year Tuisku has recently decided that Lyra is actually rather fun to play with. And it doesn’t matter that there are six years between them as Tuisku is still very much a puppy in mind. I had to take some photos of them today as they looked so cute together – both newly washed and in their skimpy summer coats. Without his crowning glory, Tuisku looks like a teenager again
Lyra 13 months and Tuisku 7 years.
A little more than a year ago, Lyra was just a baby pup.
Now they can play on more equal terms.
Our sweet girl Gemma turned 5 years old today and celebrated her birthday by going fishing with Fredrik. Gem is not a keen swimmer but she loves to go out with the boat and experience the water without getting her paws wet, and she also likes to keep a close eye on the catch. There’s quite a lot of fish in the small lake that we live by and it’s especially a good place for catching pike. The lake is connected to the sea by a brook and next summer we’re planning to go on a kayak excursion, starting from home and following the brook down to the Bothnian Bay. There’s a beautiful archipelago just off the coast that we are keen to explore. Maybe we can train Gem to sit in the kayak with us?
At the end of the summer we have plenty of fish in the freezer. We have never fed frozen fish to our Mals but have heard from fellow mushers that frozen pike is a great snack for sled dogs and also a great way of keeping their teeth clean. When googling “frozen fish to dogs” we found both pros and cons of feeding frozen (freshwater) fish to dogs and I think we need to do some more research before trying this ourselves. Meanwhile the pike stay in the freezer.
One thing that all our dogs that go back to Mountain Home have in common is the Beaver Gene. They love to play with sticks and they love to share their sticks with their friends. I think this type of behaviour strengthens the bond between pack members and also improves their ability to work together as a team. Carrying a stick together is a bit like being connected by the neckline – it works best if you syncronize your steps.
Gem with her half-sister Jeti – we miss you, beautiful girl <3
Autumn is here and it’s time to fill the dog houses with fresh hay. During summer we only have a small amount of hay in their houses, just to provide a soft bedding for them to rest on, while during autumn and winter we fill the houses to half the total volume to keep them warm and comfy in any weather. Our Malamutes love the smell of fresh bedding and can’t wait to snuggle up inside.
Fredrik is cleaning the dog houses while Titan is helping out.
Our Mals get excited about fresh hay – in almost the same way that they get excited about food.
Even Tuisku, who normally sleeps on the roof of his dog house, was quick to jump inside.
During rainy periods we change the bedding more frequently while during winter it’s often enough to change it once a month. The hay comes from our own field so we have a steady supply and enough to last us all winter. Most people recommend using straw rather than hay as bedding for dog houses but we have tried both and have found that hay actually works better for our climate.
The dog houses are designed so that they are just large enough for our Mals to stand up, turn around and lie down in comfortably. They are well insulated and built on low platforms to keep them off the frozen ground. We now have five outdoor dog houses and two dog houses inside the barn for Leia and Thunder. We are also in the process of completing two double dog houses in our newest kennels. The plan was to paint all houses in a pretty red colour before winter but I’m not sure there will be time for that, as it’s already rather chilly in the evenings. Maybe we’ll have an early winter this year?